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Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A doorway, entrance, or gate, especially one that is large and imposing.
  • n. An entrance or a means of entrance: the local library, a portal of knowledge.
  • n. The portal vein.
  • n. A website considered as an entry point to other websites, often by being or providing access to a search engine.
  • adj. Of or relating to the portal vein or the portal system.
  • adj. Of or relating to a point of entrance to an organ, especially the transverse fissure of the liver, through which the blood vessels enter.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A grandiose and often lavish entrance.
  • n. An entrance, entry point, or means of entry.
  • n. A website that acts as an entrance to other websites on the Internet.
  • n. A short vein that carries blood into the liver.
  • adj. Of or relating to a porta, especially the porta of the liver.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A door or gate; hence, a way of entrance or exit, especially one that is grand and imposing.
  • n.
  • n. The lesser gate, where there are two of different dimensions.
  • n. Formerly, a small square corner in a room separated from the rest of the apartment by wainscoting, forming a short passage to another apartment.
  • n. By analogy with the French portail, used by recent writers for the whole architectural composition which surrounds and includes the doorways and porches of a church.
  • n. The space, at one end, between opposite trusses when these are terminated by inclined braces.
  • n. A prayer book or breviary; a portass.
  • adj. Of or pertaining to a porta, especially the porta of the liver.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A door or gate; an entrance or opening for passage; specifically, the entire architectural treatment of the entrance and its surroundings of a great or splendid building, as a cathedral.
  • n. A square corner of a room separated from the rest by a wainscot, and forming a short passage or vestibule.
  • In anatomy: Pertaining to the hepatic porta, or great transverse fissure of the liver.
  • Pertaining to the vena portæ, or portal vein.
  • n. Same as portass.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a site that the owner positions as an entrance to other sites on the internet
  • n. a grand and imposing entrance (often extended metaphorically)
  • n. a short vein that carries blood into the liver

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French, from Medieval Latin portāle, city gate, from neuter of portālis, of a gate, from Latin porta, gate. N., sense 3 and adj., from New Latin porta (hepatis), transverse fissure (of the liver), literally gate of the liver, perhaps ultimately translation of Akkadian bāb (ekalli), gate (of the palace), umbilical fissure of the liver (next to the transverse fissure).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Medieval Latin portale, from Latin porta (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • Use of the word portal, from an essay on a Romanian myth about the building of a church: Ruxandra Ion and James William Anderson, The Myth of the Masterbuilder: A Psychoanalytic Perspective, in "Psychoanalysis and Architecture," ed. by J. Winer and J. Anderson, 2005.
    "In the Myth of the Masterbuilder, the Black Prince wants to build his church at the spot where something eerie has been happening. At this location, attempts to construct a building have failed, and dogs, who can sense otherworldly vibrations, “bark and bay” when they come nearby. A portal into the supernatural realm resides there. No simple building can withstand the forces that are at large. It is an apt location for a church, because a church encloses on earth a portion of the spiritual realm. But a church must be worthy of fulfilling this awesome role; it must be powerful and special in order to serve as God's dwelling."

    May 27, 2015